Day 2 - Honour Your Hunger

Day 2, here we go.....but first: how was yesterday? Anything surprising? Did you realize how much of your day you spent trying to control food or apply food rules to the way you eat?

{No right or wrong here - no one is getting a gluten-free cookie for winning at Intuitive Eating - this is about exploration and experimentation.}

Day 2 - Honour Your Hunger
The second tenet of Intuitive Eating is a really important one. Learning to consistently attend to feelings of hunger is the first big step in repairing the damage dieting has caused.

I want you to think of a small child (or animal). And I want you to imagine that that child has not been fed consistently. That there have been periods of food deprivation, a failure to respond to her hunger, the child asks for something she wants or needs but she's told no. When she has fun with food at a party - she's berated. Every bite of cake, she gets punished. She's never sure when the next period of food deprivation or criticism will come, when sugar or pasta or fruit will be allowed again.

Now, how do you think this child will behave when left alone with food? When she's given full permission to actually eat?

My bet is on the fact that that child will gorge herself.
Hunger is a biological drive. A drive to keep us alive and when there is food uncertainty - whether out of our control or self-imposed - our biology responds by increasing our drive for food. We not only get hungrier but we crave more nutrient dense foods (think fat and sugar).

No amount of willpower can (or should!) be able to overcome this drive.

If your appetite feels out of control there is a reason....your body does not feel sure that you will feed it consistently. That "small child" inside of you does not trust you and so she will continue to ask and ask and ask and ask for food - in preparation for the moment when the food stops. For that small child - this is survival.

How do you get her back onside? You regain her trust.
You FEED her. You listen to her requests and you respond. Over and over and over again until she settles down.

Take note: I haven't mentioned responding to FULLNESS yet. Because our desire for food is a biological drive, when there is food uncertainty there are ALL the reasons to stay searching for (and eating!) food and virtually no impetus to STOP eating. It's very, very difficult to respond to feelings of full until your body trusts that it will be fed consistently.

Now, I promised that this would be a funny course and I realize that conjuring up images of child neglect is not exactly hilarious. I considered inserting a poop emoji here just to lighten the mood but, for just a moment, I want to take a break from the jokes and actually get you to consider what you are doing to your body when you are restrictive. You wouldn't do it to a kid or a friend or even an animal. I'd like you to stop doing it to YOU.

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Your Homework:

  • Because of the "Diet Disconnection" (that's what I'm calling it now - it's exactly like the Rainbow Connection but opposite and awful!) most women don't even know what hungry feels like. Start by trying to guage your hunger on a scale of 0-10, randomly throughout the day.
  • 0 = not hungry at all
  • 10 = starving, low blood sugar, hangry.
  • TRY to feed yourself consistently when you are between 5-8.